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Mom Was Right? How I Survived a Mustard Mishap and Found Colours to Compliment Me

by Ana Reitz

The first time I heard of the term color season was from my mom, who was extremely excited to be a “soft autumn". 


According to color season specialties, autumns have warm undertones and dark features, which make them better in gold jewelry and warm shades that will brighten their undertones. 


At the time she explained that to me, and I thought it was nonsense. For me, autumn was simply about Gilmore Girls, falling leaves, and listening to Taylor Swift - not our style asymmetry. 


But things have changed. Not only has my mother discovered that she's actually a “soft summer”, but I've also discovered a color that doesn't suit my skin tone, perhaps proving the theory correct. 



Last week I bought a mustard-coloured sweatshirt online. When I tried it on at home, I felt terrible. My under-eye circles were accentuated, my expression lines intensified and my face was washed out. Whilst I looked dead, the model on the website looked like the most vibrant, bright, miss sunshine in the universe. 


Quickly, my mom’s voice echoed in my head. I remembered all the information she had given me when she discovered her personal color palette. 


So, I did the only thing I could think of at the moment. 


Desperately, I grabbed my phone, searched for online color season tests, and did a few. And by a few, I mean a lot. 


After searching many websites and wasting a lot of time, the consensus was that I was a “cool winter”, which means that I have cool undertones and dark features. The colors that suit me are clear, ultra-vibrant, and pure icy tones that make me glow. Think China blue, jade, and magenta. They make me look alive.


At that moment, sitting alone on the sofa, many things started to make sense. I had always known that silver jewelry looked better on me, even though I still had plenty of gold. That's why I loved Charlotte York's wardrobe (note: Kristin Landen Davis is also a “cool winter”). 


My dad said I looked like a member of the Cullen family. I've never had a tan, I just burn.  


I love to wear black. My mum said charcoal suits me very well. Since curiosity and realization started to dominate, I searched more about the season color online. 


For those who aren’t familiar with the term, seasonal color is the process that considers our skin tone, natural eye shade, and hair color to determine the ideal color palette for us. It seems to be all about hue, value & contrast, and chroma. 


Hue stands for the connection between our undertones and overtones, and it's divided into warm, neutral, or cool. 


Usually something that we realize alone, there are many exercises that can help individuals who are confused while trying to find out on their own. 


The first one is called the vein color test, which consists of checking the bloodstream of your wrist. In case they are predominantly blue, with a purple hint, you are cool-toned. If it is green, you are warm. 


The second test takes in consideration metal, comparing gold and silver jewelry against your skin. If silver suits you better, you are cool. And gold means warm. 


While this exercise is easy, sometimes we act according to our hearts, choosing what we prefer over what looks better. This behavior makes the exercise a bit complicated, so we must pay attention and not act on impulses. 


Whether you tan can be another experiment, although it’s a bit controversial as it's not absolutely super accurate. According to this exercise, if you tan in the sun then you are warm, and if you just burn then you are cool. 


The orange versus magenta exercise tends to be favoured and is the most effective. This experiment requires a bright orange blouse and a magenta one. Warmer people look better with the orange, and cooler people with the magenta. 


Another test that may help you discover your hue is the white paper one, which only requires, you guessed it, a piece of paper. Holding the sheet under your chin or near your face, you can find yourself in two situations; if your skin looks almost golden yellow, you are warm, or if it looks blue, with a purple or red background you are cool. 


After determining your skin tone, your hair and eyes should be evaluated by contrasts and value. 


Our contrasts are determined by where our features fall on a scale from light to dark. Value has three categories - light, medium, and dark - and it depends on some of our facial characteristics. 


Somewhat related to our undertones and overtones, it is possible to uncover this aspect through the four seasons analysis. While winter and summer are cool, autumn and spring are warm.


Meanwhile, winter undertones show a high contrast between their skin tone and facial features, while summer undertones are more moderate, with lighter elements. 


In the case of autumn and spring, autumn presents a mixture of its factors, which differ from spring since their attributes are brighter but still without high contrast. 


After unfolding its hue and contrast, chroma is the next. Describing the intensity of the color, chroma divides itself into muted, medium, and bright.  Although these three primary factors are significant, there is still much more to be considered.  


Many people don’t fit into any of those tests and characteristics. That is justified because after discovering what season you belong to, there are subdivisions in each one – totaling twelve. The “bright/clear/soft”; “cool/true” and “deep/dark” words can change everything. 


Cool winters and deep ones are drastically different. While cool is similar to summer’s category, relying on coolness, dark is set apart by its depth. And those are small details that change everything. 


Just like each season has its differences, their subdivisions act similarly. For this reason, many people seek help from professionals in the field, but with the rise of digital platforms, we can take some tests and conquer knowledge on our own. 


At first, everything seems difficult. Buying clothes and choosing from your wardrobe can be difficult if you are unsure about your color palette, but if you want to stand out in your clothes, the colors chosen by seasonal analysis are essential. 


However, their existence doesn't mean you shouldn't try other colors that aren't on the palette!


Even though I discovered a whole new world through identity things I didn't like on me, such as the fact that warm, earthy, golden tones which are not complimentary to my features, it doesn't mean that the color system can't be bended. 


As I "play" with my color season, I haven't said goodbye to caramel blouses, brown leather jackets, and gold jewelry. Combining them with colors that are in my palette makes things better as I'm able to balance the warmth that was against my coolness. 


As another method of support, I sought inspiration from celebrities with the same type of seasonal color as me, looking at their looks and how they used some bold colors. 


From Brooke Shields to Liv Tyler, cool winters out there know what works for them and what doesn't, and enhance their attributes with fashion and color. Just like them, after immersing myself in this colorful world where fashion, physiology, and science are all intertwined, I'm able to buy cute clothes with no regrets and put on a little make-up without having to rush out and take everything off with a remover. 


And now I know how and what to buy to make me feel good - and that is all that matters.


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